This is not some crazy marketing scheme! I legit traveled to all four of those places in the last four to five months for free. The purpose of this blog is not to show you how to go to the mentioned locations for free (although you can try and copy my methods if you want), but rather, show you how I created and took advantage of the opportunities presented in front of me. So I’ll stop wasting your time and get right to it.
Washington DC – This happened through an invitation to attend the Advancing Justice|AAJC’s inaugural Youth Leadership Summit. This was a three-day leadership development program for college students where we participated in advocacy training and leadership workshops. There were hundreds of students that applied but only twenty got accepted. It provided a unique opportunity to be in Washington DC, meet young advocates from across the country, interact with legislative staff, and learn more in depth about the Asian American community and issues we face. I learned about this opportunity through an email Listserv at UIC known as the AARCC-NEWS which is operated by the Asian American Resource and Cultural Center. I saw the opportunity through the email, applied, and got accepted.
Dayton, Ohio – I attended a conference known as the Redefining Investment Strategy Education (RISE) forum, which took place at the University of Dayton for three days http://www.udayton.edu/business/rise/. This is a forum for academics, professionals, and students to gather and talk about the future of finance and investments and what the outlook for the future of the U.S. economy is. As President of the Finance & Investment Group at UIC (the premier finance organization on campus), my organization members and I got to go to this event; fully paid for by the Finance Department at UIC. This was a great way to represent the university at a premier conference and give students a great experience. I worked hard to get to the top of my organization and put myself in a position where opportunity knocked on my door.
Dallas, Texas – There is a program that was started this year known as the UIC Business Adventures ran by Professor Miller in the Department of Managerial Studies. During this three day trip, we went to Dallas to meet with UIC alumni, Don Hermanek, where we got to learn how an insurance auto auction business (KAR Auction Services) operated. We also had activities with Southwest Airlines (SWA). Honestly, I never considered working for an airlines before, but after learning about and seeing their company culture, meeting Herb Kelleher and Colleen Barrett, going to the Frontiers Flight museum, having dinner with SWA employees, and going to the shareholders meeting, I absolutely would not mind working there in the future. This opportunity was made available to me because I chose to connect with a colleague who was the President of the Management Leadership Association at UIC, and Professor Miller was the adviser for that organization.
Palo Alto and San Francisco, California – This summer I am interning for the University of Illinois Foundation as an Investment Analyst intern. The Foundation received hundreds of applicants, interviewed tens of them, and selected four interns for the summer from the three University of Illinois campuses. As part of the internship we were sent to Palo Alto for two weeks to take classes at an investment management firm, Makena Capital Management, and at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. It was an absolutely amazing experience. I can say with confidence that California would be a great place to pursue my career. I saw the San Francisco Giants throw a no-hitter, I saw the CEO of Yahoo’s house and the CEO of Apple’s condo, I saw a start-up business in a garage, and of course walked the Golden Gate Bridge. This was all made possible by having great connections with the Business Career Center located in Douglas Hall, and making sure I was aware of all the opportunities available.
- Your voice is important and you have the power to influence positive change if you are active and passionate about it.
- Be considerate towards everyone and learn to communicate your points thoroughly.
- Regardless of how successful someone is, do not be afraid to go up to them and speak to them. Most of them used to be in the same position as you and are willing to give advice.
- Take all the positive advice you receive, apply it to your life, and watch the fruitfulness of that knowledge blossom.
- Seek opportunities while building relationships with people who can provide you opportunities and are always seeking opportunities themselves.
- Work hard while working smart, and watch your dreams flourish into reality.
Questions about my trips, criticism about my blog, or just want to give me ideas of future blog topics? Email me at KSHAH50@UIC.EDU